What Fresh Hell Is This?

June 30, 2006

The P-G on the recent NYTimes "scandal"

Check it out.
The war on terror is being fought to preserve our freedoms, or so the American people are told. But freedom is not just a feel-good expression -- it has real meaning. In the paranoid post-9/11 era, that truth seems largely to have been forgotten.

Last week, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal had a story the Bush administration did not want published, although it is The New York Times that is now taking most of the heat. Based on information from nearly 20 anonymous current and former government officials and industry executives, The Times' story described a secret government anti-terrorist effort -- put in place weeks after 9/11 -- to tap "financial records from a vast international database."
Given that the Bush administration has shown scant respect for the law, both in domestic surveillance and in confining terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay in defiance of the Geneva Conventions, this is an important news story that should be of interest to every American who cares about how the government behaves.
True. The next part is cool.
Yet because it revealed classified information, the administration and its supporters see this story as something akin to treason.
Given this administration's flagrant disregard to and utter disprespect for our Constitution, "treason" is an interesting charge. I really can't go with the by now over-used "Pot. Kettle. Black" metaphor, because the Times was just doing its job. The P-G sums it up:
The American people must know the nature of government policies if they are to carry on an informed debate.
And finally:
If the government is going to get a free pass on its policies because "we are at war," then the terrorists have scored a victory. Some secrets must be kept, but this was not one of them.
To be sure.


djhlights said...

The fact is that the scope of this plan and the revelation that SWIFT was being used are not revelations at all. Why they would "classify" information that is freely available to the public is stupid?

This .pdf from the UN website that has been up since 2003 and mentions it on page 11 paragraph 31.

"The settlement of international transactions is usually handled through correspondent banking relationships or large-value message and payment systems, such as the SWIFT, Fedwire or CHIPS systems in the United States of America. Such international clearance centres are critical to processing international banking transactions and are rich with payment information. The United States has begun to apply new monitoring techniques to spot and verify suspicious transactions. The Group recommends the adoption of similar mechanisms by other countries."

None of this is "new" at all other than garnering attention from major print news sources. The whole reaction from the right is just bizarre and the lack of balls from the major TV media to stand up and defend their own right to do their work is disturbing.

What is also amiss that those who are calling the Times action "treason" need to be called to task and ask if they are specifically calling for the death of those at the Times. The penalty for treason in this country is death. If you want them tried for treason, you believe that reporters should face the death penalty for reporting information the government decides should not be reported in a direct rebuke of the First Amendment. We should be calling these totalitarians out on their words.

Patrick said...

So who told the New York Times? Someone in the Bush administration.

The NYT is a newspaper, and it prints stories of interest. If you don't want the whole neighborhood to know your private business, don't tell secrets to the town gossip; the same is true here.

If this "secret" is so important, why did someone in the Bush administration tell the NYT about it? Can't these people keep their mouths shut? Does the buck stop at the Oval Office? Why does Bush put people with loose lips in important positions? The ship of state is being piloted by a bunch of incompetants, apparently.

Piltdown Man said...

If there is one truism about the Bush admin it's this; If you cross them, they will hammer you back. Simple mob justice. Kill the messenger.

They see The Times as an enemy, not just a newspaper which dares "disobey" them.

In addition, I think much of this also has to do with the coming elections. The GOP always needs bogeymen, so they will demonize The Times to help deflect the negative press which they so richly deserve. And don't forget, a lot of people in this nation HATE New York. For many in the South and the West, NYC is the epitome of the "Liberal Jewish Intellectual Class," something they, for no real reason, have been raised to dislike.

Finally, I thought Keller's article in today's paper stated their position well enough, but it wasn't the most well-written column I've ever seen. Perhaps they were even fearful in writing it - and thus parsed their language a bit too carefully...

Piltdown Man

Anonymous said...

"paranoid post-9/11 era"

Right there shows you the pre 9/11 mentality of the liberal left. I wouldn't expect anything less from the liberal bias Post Gazette.

You know, I almost hope the Democrats win in November, so I can then observe disaster after disaster, which will show how idiotic the Democrats really are. I bet 2PJ would be about as silent as they are on all of the current Democrat scandals taking place. Not ONE report. Not ONE comment. As Ed said in a recent comment. This place is not analytical. It's totally partisan. It's totally biased. Enough said.